So, I meant to warn you guys that I don’t generally keep up with things like journals or blogs and that posting often on this blog might not happen. My apologies. But, now is a good time for a post because today I realized, as I do when the end is nearing, that my time here in Brazil is very short. This Sunday I will be traveling to Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, with my group for three days to meet with the president of Brazil and representatives from the United Nations. After that trip our group will be spending about a week in Salvador for our excursion. There we will learn more about race in Brazil especially with regards to the Afro-Brazilian population. Since my independent study research is on race and education in the lives of Afro-Brazilians I will stay in Salvador for my research and return to Fortaleza and my host family in June. Since the program ends June 17th, I will only have about two weeks left with my family when I return. That fact hit me today and I went on a rant with my family about how sentimental I am, literally partially mental, and how I really didn’t want to leave them. I really hope I will find a way to return to Brazil after college maybe for more school, work, or volunteering opportunities. But for now since I’m feeling so very sentimental, I think it’s a good time for me to reflect on this trip so far and also give you an opportunity to hear how things have been.
The Knight Bus, Forro, The Brazilian Rocky Horror Picture Show
Those three words illustrate 3 memories I’m thinking about right now. I haven’t re-read my previous posts so I don’t remember if I told you guys about the Knight Bus. But, if you read Harry Potter then you know exactly what I am referring to. The Knight Bus pretty much sums up the transportation system here in Fortaleza. The buses are crazy, they speed through traffic, winding through cars and pedestrians crossing the street, and just when you think they are going too fast and are going to pass your stop they come to an abrupt halt, nearly jerking everyone on the bus. Yup, that’s pretty much every morning and afternoon for me as I commute back and forth from school and home. But, don’t get scared it’s really not as dangerous as it sounds, I’ve never heard of a bus getting into an accident here, but every time I am on one I also can’t help but laugh a little and think I’m finally living out the Harry Potter series and am really riding the Knight Bus.
Speaking of Harry Potter, I just bought Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in Portuguese, titled Harry Potter e as Reliquias da Morte. And I found my favorite Harry Potter quote which in Portuguese is: “Claro que esta acontecendo em sua mente, Harry, mas por que isto significaria nao e real?” Translation: “Of course it is happening inside of your head, Harry, but why should that mean it is not real?” Anyway besides always enjoying another opportunity to re-read Harry Potter, I think this will be great practice for my Portuguese.
Forro is a type of music and dance that is really popular here in Ceara. It is a type of two-step dance, with lots of hips and spinning. A lot of pop music famous in the U.S. and Brazil are transformed into Forro songs, which can be really funny especially when you hear a re-make of a song from the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack. Anyway, I’ve had a few opportunities to try it out and they all start out pretty awkward and embarrassing, but yesterday I had a dance partner who really enjoyed teaching me how to dance Forro. I twisted my ankle a few days ago and spent nearly an hour spinning, flipping, stepping on feet, laughing, apologizing, and in the end dancing Forro. I wish somebody took a video because I’ve never even seen myself dance so well.
This past week our group was divided into several smaller groups so that we could spend the week working with a different social organizations. It was probably one of the better weeks in Fortaleza, because unlike other SIT programs ours happens to spend a lot of time in the classroom. So it was really nice to get out and experience the real Brazil. I worked with an organization called Adelco that works on sustainable development and improving living conditions in the lives of an indigenous group called Tapebas. It was really amazing to learn more about indigenous communities in Brazil! Along with my two classmates, a student, Mariana, from the Federal University of Ceara (UFC) who studies film worked with us. After the week was over most of my classmates celebrated with our classmates from UFC at their dorm/house. Mariana and her other classmates had coincidentally finished a huge film project and were replaying the short clip for all of the friends who came that evening. Although I couldn’t really understand the Portuguese, it was obvious her film was sort of a Brazilian version and re-make of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. It was extremely impressive! Watch out for these students in the near future of social media!
Up next, race, the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (The Movement of Rural Landless Workers), Canoa Quebrada and Quixaba.